Get your bank’s attention Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2007
To prosper in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is imperative to have a strong and dedicated banking partner that has the resources to help expand and grow your business. Ideally, the bank should feature advanced state-ofthe-art business systems and a structure that encourages involvement from senior personnel.

The blending of new technologies with an old-fashioned personalized touch is the hallmark of quality commercial banks in these modern times. A bank that doesn’t pay attention to your company’s individual needs — no matter how many bells and whistles it offers — probably isn’t worthy of receiving your deposits.

Of course, communication is a two-way street. To fully take advantage of a bank’s products and services, you will need to openly communicate your needs.

Forming a productive relationship with your commercial banker can pay huge dividends, says Joe Yurosek, senior vice president and regional group manager at Comerica Bank. “Establishing strong relationships with our clients helps us provide advisory-type services,” says Yurosek. “Once we’ve moved into a professional advisory role, we can anticipate our clients’ needs. Coming to our clients with new ideas provides them with more data to assess what they can and can’t do in the marketplace.”

Smart Business spoke with Yurosek about choosing a commercial bank, the importance of personal relationships and how a quality bank can help their client grow.

How should a company go about finding a good commercial bank?

The best way is to utilize existing, known relationships through referrals and references. This includes CPAs, attorneys and other business owners. Not only should you ask your contacts who they know, but you should ask specific questions. For example, How responsive is the bank to credit requests? How accessible are senior managers or decision-makers at the bank?

It is a combination of getting references from people you trust and asking the right questions that relate to your company.

What types of products should a quality bank bring to the table?

These days, pretty much all of the top-tier corporate banks provide full-service products. Some of the important ones include full corporate credit capabilities, cash management services, strong international capabilities and Internet-based cash management systems. Quality banks have invested heavily in developing state-of-theart software systems. Also, clients are looking for one point of contact, so they can use the relationship they develop for their private banking needs.

How important are personal relationships between a company and its bank?

They are very important. You want to build trust in any professional relationship. Speaking from the bank’s perspective, the more we know about the ultimate needs of our clients, the better we can provide an advisory role to our clients. This enables us to separate ourselves from other banks by becoming more proactive and less reactive.

What role does communication play in developing a positive working relationship?

You need good communication so that there are never any surprises for either the bank or for the client. Customers often want their bank to provide them with direction in their business investment decisions. The only way that both of us can know which direction we’re headed is open and frequent communication. This applies both when times are good and when they’re not so good.

How can a bank help a company develop and expand its presence internationally?

In terms of the global market, banks can help provide additional contacts overseas. We have banking contacts and a representative office in China, for example. Something as simple as providing a customer with contacts that are on the ground in a foreign country would help them assess whether they should be outsourcing production. Banks often have clients that they can introduce to other clients that have already produced products in a foreign country.

When it comes to helping customers expand, we are a wealth of information because we have significant contacts with customers and clients who have already done business overseas. Also, banks that have invested in people on the ground in foreign countries can provide customers with knowledge of the foreign local capabilities.

JOE YUROSEK is senior vice president and regional group manager at Comerica Bank. Reach him at (562) 590-2561 or jpyurosek@comerica.com.